Consumers have been reining in debt this year, likely in response to swelling economic uncertainty, including high unemployment, stagnant wage growth and fiscal debt crises. While such a trend bodes well for personal finances, it indicates poor consumer confidence.
This week, advocate group CreditKarma.com released the U.S. Credit Score Climate Report, finding national credit card debt has fallen nearly 10 percent since January to reach $6,503 in November. The study also evaluated states by credit ratings, with California (680), New Jersey (679), Massachusetts (678) and Utah (675) rounding out the top four. Mississippi (621), South Carolina (635) and Arkansas (635) suffered the lowest scores last month. "While it's a good sign that credit card debt is down since the beginning of the year, this trend is not likely to continue as the holiday season progresses and more consumers put their purchases on their credit cards," said Ken Lin, CEO of CreditKarma. Last week, the Federal Reserve reported consumer debt climbed to highest monthly volume in two years in October, driven by non-revolving debt such as auto and student loans.